Review: MIDDLE OF NOWHERE Takes Us On A Pleasing Road of Self-Discovery

Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) is on a road to nowhere. She just dropped out of med school to work full time in hopes of getting her husband out of jail for being bad once (really nice of her, right?). 

Things really start to suck even more when she’s blindsided regarding news of his behavior while incarcerated. He hasn’t been released yet and still has a few years left. So, she does what any levelheaded person would after hearing this — she starts to live a little; discover herself and what’s now good for her. Nothing wrong with letting your hair down every now and again. 

Middle of Nowhere is Ruby’s life pieced together post husband-going-to-jail and includes memories of the good times that keep her hanging on to their now-hollow relationship (insert Stevie Nicks lyric here). She just can’t let go of the nostalgia. They were the best times of her life. And even though she’s clearly paid her dues to be a young woman on her own, it feels like she’s just now discovering adulthood. It’s really powerful. 

As a whole, Middle of Nowhere does have some problems. One specifically: the story becomes a bit insecure  towards the third act, seemingly feeling uncertain about how it wants to end. It’s hard to tell if this is writer/director Ava DuVernay’s intent. 

Corinealdi’s marvelous portrayal of Ruby keeps us in full-focus, however. This character is strong and going through the ringer but still manages to stand tall and be independent. Despite some disappointing setbacks, she’s courageous and fights for what she believes in. Her independence is really sexy. It gives us emotionally unstable, hopeless romantics a feeling of hope.

According to IMDb, DuVernay’s previous film, I Will Follow, tells the story of a “grieving woman,” which tells me this Sundance award winning filmmaker may have gone through the ringer herself. If this is true, she has cleverly learned how to use past upsets as a tool for making movies. I’m OK with that.

Middle of Nowhere opens in limited release in the U.S. on Friday, October 12. Check official site for theaters and showtimes.

Published on Twitch Film.